Eileen Laforge and Joanne Benoit. (Contributed)

Sharing hugs and happiness in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Teams of volunteers gave out hugs for Valentine’s Day

Teams of volunteers criss-crossed Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on Valentine’s Day giving out hugs.

Hug Teams visited to Baillie House, McKenney Creek Hospice, Royal Crescent Gardens, Chartwell Willow Manor, Sunwood Retirement Home, Maple Towers, Osprey Village, Save On Foods in Westgate Mall, PATH and Rehab at the Ridge Meadows Hospital, the Greg Moore Youth Centre, both the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Seniors Centres.

READ MORE: Valentine’s Day rooted in Pagan, Roman and Christian traditions

They also set up a hugging station at the Family Education and Support Centre.

The goal behind this volunteer led, community-based event was to show people that they matter in the community.

Share A Hug co-coordinator Angie McLeod said they lost count of the number of people they hugged over the two hour period they were giving them.

There were four or five teams out in the community, she said, and each team had three or four people.

“Every senior that we connected with got a minimum of three or four hugs,” said McLeod, adding that people were very appreciative.

There was a woman at Maple Towers, said McLeod, who told them they had just made her day. And numerous people offered her team marriage proposals, “at the seniors centres anyway”.

“There were people who were hugging us and they didn’t say something, but they just kept hugging,” noted McLeod.

“I think there was one woman and we probably hugged her for six or 10 seconds, sort of a good solid hug, and she must have held onto us for at least a minute each,” she added.

The teams also had a great time, said McLeod.

“Such an amazing day! Thank you everyone! See you all next year,” said volunteer Wendy Upton.

“I just wanna say, of all the things I’ve done in my community, I think THIS has been the most meaningful ever,” said Brenda Norrie, the other coordinator.

Hugs can make people feel happy on one of the most difficult days of the year, especially those who have nobody, said the promotional flyer for the event.

READ MORE: Would you rather go out on Valentine’s Day or stay home with your dog?

They are important because they release a feel-good chemical called oxytocin in the body, they reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, increase self-esteem and reduce loneliness.

Hugs also decrease depression and anxiety, build trust and connections and increase happiness and personal well-being, said the flyer, adding that the ideal hug is one that is six to 20 seconds in length, belly to belly.

Teams were not able to give hugs at Baillie House but gave out valentines instead.

McLeod said there will be another hugging event next year.

Everybody who participated wants to do it again next year and the facilities they visited also said they would like to have them back, she said.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Don and Trudy Durling. (Contributed)

Angie McLeod, Kate Doucette, Nasena Ekman, David Cleverdon, and Joanne Benoit. (Contributed)

Arvie Bourgeault, Marissa Stalman, Heather Treleavan, Karen Wakita, and Lynell Adams. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Maple Ridge author launches new fantasy series

Brooke Carter’s first book, The Stone of Sorrow, comes out April 7

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Friends surpise recently married couple with COVID-19 friendly reception on Pitt Meadows street

Anastasija and Joshua Davis saw shattered plan turns into a reception many will never forget

Lack of education playing role in Fraser North students missing out on mental health services

2018 B.C. Adolescent Health Survey notes students do not know where to turn to for help

School District 42 provides update on continued learning plan

Superintendent Sylvia Russell says staff will be in touch with Ridge Meadows students and families

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Most Read